Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus)

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Geoffroy's bats in a roost
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Geoffroy’s bat fact file

Geoffroy’s bat description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderChiroptera
FamilyVespertilionidae
GenusMyotis (1)

Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus) is a relatively small bat characterized by a distinct notch on each ear, hence its alternative name of notch-eared bat (3). Geoffroy’s bat has long, woolly fur, and each hair on the upperparts of the body is slate-grey at the base, beige in the middle, and is tinged with red at the tip (4), resulting in an overall rusty, reddish-brown appearance (3). The fur on the underparts is paler and the ears and broad wings are dark. Geoffroy’s bathas a well-developed tail, with only the tip extending beyond the interfemoral membrane. Juvenile Geoffroy’s bats have darker fur which lacks the reddish tinge (4).

Also known as
Geoffroy’s myotis.
French
MURIN À OREILLES ÉCHANCRÉES.
Spanish
MURCIÉLAGO RATONERO PARDO.
Size
Head-body length: 4.1 - 5.4 cm (2)
Wingspan: 22 - 25 cm (2)
Weight
7 - 15 g (2)
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Geoffroy’s bat biology

Geoffroy’s bat forms colonies from May to August and changes roost sites frequently during this time. This species may live in large colonies (1); maternity colonies typically contain 20 to 200 individuals, but colonies comprising up to 1,000 females have been recorded (2). Male Geoffroy’s bats roost separately during this time. Geoffroy’s batmates in autumn, possibly also in winter, with females giving birth to a single young in June or July (2). Females may mate at one year of age and the maximum recorded lifespan of this species is 18 years (2).

Geoffroy’s bat feeds on flies, spiders, moths and other insects. It typically plucks its prey off surfaces, such as leaves, but may also capture insects during flight, generally within five metres of the ground. A study from central Europe found the most commonly occurring prey of this species were flies of the genus Musca, which are strongly associated with cattle farming (6). Geoffroy’s bat hunts at night, leaving the roost almost immediately after sunset and returning approximately one hour before sunrise, after travelling up to ten kilometres (7).

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Geoffroy’s bat range

Geoffroy’s bat occurs in southern Europe, north-west Africa and south-western Asia. It has been observed from sea level up to an altitude of 1,800 metres (1)

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Geoffroy’s bat habitat

Geoffroy’s bat generally roosts in underground habitats, such as caves and old mines, and in a variety of man-made structures (1) (5). It forages over grassland and scrub and spends winter in underground habitats (1).

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Geoffroy’s bat status

Geoffroy’s bat is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Geoffroy’s bat threats

Human interference is one of the main threats to Geoffroy’s bat; studies have shown that the bats can be forced to make major detours on foraging trips to avoid flying over motorways (7). Geoffroy’s bat is frequently associated with agricultural landscapes, therefore all agricultural activities can affect populations of this species (1). For example, the destruction of olive groves in areas of the Mediterranean has been found to have detrimental effects on local bat populations (9). The loss and disturbance of roost sites are also threats (1); a study in Bulgaria found that colonies in caves visited by humans often declined (5). In the African part of the range, caves where the species roosts are being destroyed by fires and vandalism, and it is sometimes collected for traditional ‘medicine’ practices (1).

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Geoffroy’s bat conservation

Geoffroy’s bat is one of the 45 bat species to which The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS) applies. This agreement aims to protect European bats through legislation, education, conservation measures and international cooperation (10). Although the population of Geoffroy’s bat is currently thought to be stable, it has been recommended that its roost sites are protected, and that local people in northern Africa are educated about the lack of medicinal value of this species (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To find out about efforts to conserve bats around the world see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ scientific species name; the second part is the specific name.
Interfemoral membrane
The skin that stretches between the hind legs and tail of a bat, used in flight.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Agnelli, P., Martinoli, A., Patriarca, E., Russo, D., Scaravelli, D. and Genovesi, P. (2006) Guidelines for Bat Monitoring: Methods for the Study and Conservation of Bats in Italy. Quaderni di Conservazione della Natura, 19, Min. Ambiente – 1st Naz. Fauna Selvatica, Rome and Ozzano dell’Emilia (Bologna), Italy.   
  3. Qumsiyeh, M. (1996) Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Texas.
  4. Davis, L. (2007) An Introduction to the Bats of the United Arab Emirates. Echoes Ecology Ltd, Polmont, Scotland. Available at:
    http://www.echoesecology.co.uk/documents/BatsoftheUAE_000.pdf
  5. Bat Conservation International (2003) A rare Bulgarian bat. BATS, 21(3): 18.
  6. Steck, C.E. and Brinkmann, R. (2006) The trophic niche of the Geoffroy's bat (Myotis emarginatus) in south-western Germany. Museum and Institute of Zoology at the Polish Academy of Science, 8(2): 445-450.
  7. Krull, D., Schumm, A., Metzner, W. and Neuweiler, G. (1991) Foraging areas and foraging behaviour in the notch-eared bat, Myotis emarginatus. Behavioural Ecology and Socio-biology, 28(4): 247-253.
  8. Schumm, A., Krull, D. and Neuweiler, G. (1991) Echolocation in the notch-eared bat, Myotis emarginatus; Behavioural Ecology and Socio-biology, 28(4): 255-261.
  9. Flaquer, C., Puig-Montserrat, X., Burgas, A. and Russo, D. (2008) Habitat selection by Geoffroy's bats (Myotis emarginatus) in a rural Mediterranean landscape: implications for conservation. Acta Chiropterologica, 10: 61-67.
  10. EUROBATS (November, 2010)
    http://www.eurobats.org/index.htm
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Image credit

Geoffroy's bats in a roost  
Geoffroy's bats in a roost

© Dietmar Nill / naturepl.com

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